Region Overview

Stretching from coast to coast, South is  includes all of both East and South Ayrshire, the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway. It also covers most of East Lothian, a southern chunk of Midlothian around Penicuik and Gorebridge, plus the rural Clydesdale part of South Lanarkshire. The original 1999 version didn’t have the Kilmarnock area, instead having a part of North Ayrshire around Irvine, and it also had slightly less of the Midlothian and Clydesdale areas.

This is perhaps the region that best exemplifies how,  as much as AMS is an improvement over pure FPTP, it can still give just really geographically bizarre electoral areas. The eastern and western components of the region are pretty poorly linked to one another, bound only by the vague geography of being southern. One side looks to Edinburgh (and Newcastle), whilst the other connects with Glasgow (and Carlisle).

There are, at least, some demographic similarities, with the rural farming interior common to Galloway, Dumfriesshire and the Borders, mining was historically common to both Midlothian and Ayrshire, and fishing dominating coastal Galloway the same way it did Berwickshire.

By the end of the 20th century, Labour were the party to beat in Mid and East Lothian as well as the mining communities in Clydesdale and southern Ayrshire, whilst the Conservatives held sway over the more affluent town of Ayr itself, Dumfriesshire and Galloway. Completing the picture were the strongly Liberal Democrat Borders, rooted in David Steel’s remarkable 1965 by-election victory in Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles.

In the 1997 Conservative wipeout, Labour came to hold Dumfriesshire and Ayr, whilst the SNP nabbed the Galloway seat. That can feel like a surprise these days, with the south broadly being seen as the most strongly pro-Union part of the country, but voters have complex identities, which have shifted over time.

The first election to the new Parliament looked just like that 1997 election in terms of constituency seats, with the SNP taking Galloway, the Lib Dems those two Borders seats, and Labour the other six. PR would ensure Conservative strength was shown with four regional seats, whilst the SNP took the other three. Notably, however, the first ever Holyrood by-election was held less than a year later in Ayr. Labour had only won by 25 votes, and the Conservatives won the first parliamentary constituency in Scotland since their defeat three years previously.


6 Labour (all Constituency)
4 SNP (3 Regional, 1 Constituency)
4 Conservative (all Regional)
2 Liberal Democrat (all Constituency)

In addition to keeping the hold on Ayr after their by-election success, the Conservatives regained the Galloway and Upper Nithsdale seat from the SNP, mirroring their success there at the 2001 UK Election. As they won two seats on the list whilst the SNP held steady on three, that put the Conservatives second overall. Meanwhile the Rainbow Parliament lived up to its name in the South, with both a Green and SSP MSP elected.


5 Labour (all Constituency)
4 Conservative (2 Constituency, 2 Regional)
3 SNP (all Regional)
2 Liberal Democrat (all Constituency)
1 Green (Regional)
1 SSP (Regional)

The Conservatives continued to gain constituencies at this election, unseating the Lib Dems from the Roxburgh and Berwickshire seat, though all else remained as was. That led to a direct trade on the lists to leave both parties on the same overall seat total. Meanwhile, the dissipating rainbow saw both the Greens and SSP booted out, with those two seats instead finding their way to the SNP.


5 Labour (all Constituency)
5 SNP (all Regional)
4 Conservative (3 Constituency, 1 Regional)
2 Liberal Democrat (1 Constituency, 1 Regional)

Substantial boundary changes at this election combined with the SNP surge and Lib Dem collapse to dramatically change the constituency winners. The SNP gained four constituencies, leaving Labour with just Dumfriesshire and East Lothian. They also defeated the last Lib Dem Borders MSP, and with a much reduced vote share, the latter were left with just their single regional seat. The Conservatives held all of their constituencies but lost their last list seat, whilst Labour gained two, the SNP holding the other four.


8 SNP (4 Constituency, 4 Regional)
4 Labour (2 Constituency, 2 Regional)
3 Conservative (all Constituency)
1 Liberal Democrat (Regional)

What was already quite remarkable Conservative success at the last election was particularly evident in the South, where they came within 6% of the SNP on the list vote, the closest margin of any region. The effect on constituencies was relatively muted however, with just a transfer of Dumfriesshire from Labour to Conservative hands. However, it did mean the Conservatives gained two regional seats, whilst the SNP dropped one and the Lib Dems fell below the Greens, who got close but not close enough to repeating their 2003 success here.


7 SNP (4 Constituency, 3 Regional)
6 Conservative (4 Constituency, 2 Regional)
3 Labour (2 Regional, 1 Constituency)

South Scotland saw the most movement in constituencies of any region, although that wasn’t saying much in the context of just three changing hands nationally. Two of them were in South, as the SNP gained Ayr from the Conservatives and East Lothian from Labour. Given this was their weakest region in 2016 however, this didn’t add anything to their net total.

Indeed, every party won the same number of seats in this region as they did in 2016, with the Conservatives close behind the SNP on 6 seats overall and Labour holding their trio. The Greens fell just 115 votes short of picking up a list seat here, denying them representation in every region of Scotland. Given the Lib Dems also failed to regain their lost list seat here, that makes South the least politically diverse region in the country.


7 SNP (6 Constituency, 1 Regional)
6 Conservative (3 Constituency, 3 Regional)
3 Labour (all Regional)

Region Map

Overall Regional Result 2021

Regional List Vote and MSPs Elected


#1: Labour - Colin Smyth
#2: Conservative - Craig Hoy
#3: Labour - Carol Mochan
#4: Conservative - Brian Whittle
#5: Conservative - Sharon Dowey
#6: SNP - Emma Harper
#7: Labour - Martin Whitfield

Constituency Vote

Total MSPs Elected

7 SNP (6 Constituency, 1 Regional)
6 Conservative (3 Constituency, 3 Regional)
3 Labour (all Regional)

Ayr

2021 Results

2021 MSP & Majority


SNP - Siobhan Brown
Majority: 170 (0.4%)
Turnout: 68.3%

2021 Candidates

SNP: Siobhan Brown
Conservative: John Scott
Labour: Esther Clark
Liberal Democrat: Jamie Ross
Scotia Future: Chic Brodie

Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley

2021 Results

2021 MSP & Majority


SNP - Elena Whitham
Majority: 4337 (12.2%)
Turnout: 59.5%

2021 Candidates

SNP: Elena Whitham
Conservative: Sharon Dowey
Labour: Carol Mochan
Liberal Democrat: Kirsten Herbst-Gray

Clydesdale

2021 Results

2021 MSP & Majority


SNP - Màiri McAllan
Majority: 4578 (11.2)
Turnout: 66.8%

2021 Candidates

SNP: Màiri McAllan
Conservative: Eric Holford
Labour: Claudia Beamish
Liberal Democrat: Amanda Kubie

Dumfriesshire

2021 Results

2021 MSP & Majority


Conservative - Oliver Mundell
Majority: 4066 (9.9%)
Turnout: 65.9%

2021 Candidates

Conservative: Oliver Mundell
SNP: Joan McAlpine
Labour: Colin Smyth
Liberal Democrat: Richard Brodie

East Lothian

2021 Results

2021 MSP & Majority


SNP - Paul McLennan
Majority: 1179 (2.6%)
Turnout: 69.0%

2021 Candidates

SNP: Paul McLennan
Labour: Martin Whitfield
Conservative: Craig Hoy
Liberal Democrat: Euan Davidson

Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire

2021 Results

2021 MSP & Majority


Conservative - Rachael Hamilton
Majority: 6863 (19.0%)
Turnout: 63.9%

2021 Candidates

Conservative: Rachael Hamilton
SNP: Paul Wheelhouse
Liberal Democrat: Jenny Marr
Labour: Ian Davidson
Green: Barbra Harvie
Independent: Jesse Rae

Galloway and West Dumfries

2021 Results

2021 MSP & Majority


Conservative - Finlay Carson
Majority: 2635 (7.1%)
Turnout: 64.7%

2021 Candidates

Conservative: Finlay Carson
SNP: Emma Harper
Labour: Archie Dryburgh
Green: Laura Moodie
Liberal Democrat: Iain McDonald

Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley

2021 Results

2021 MSP & Majority


SNP - Willie Coffey
Majority: 11681 (28.8%)
Turnout: 61.5%

2021 Candidates

SNP: Willie Coffey
Labour: Kevin McGregor
Conservative: Brian Whittle
Liberal Democrat: Stephen McQuistin
Libertarian: Stef Johnstone

Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale

2021 Results

2021 MSP & Majority


SNP - Christine Grahame
Majority: 6826 (15.9)
Turnout: 66.3%

2021 Candidates

SNP: Christine Grahame
Conservative: Shona Haslam
Labour: Katherine Sangster
Liberal Democrat: AC May
Green: Dominic Ashmole
Vanguard Party: Michael Banks

List Seat Allocation Process

To allocate list seats using the D’Hondt method, each party’s share of the vote is divided by one more than the number of seats they’ve won so far in the process. This is an important part of how the list seats then more fairly represent the diversity of views amongst voters. List votes cast for a party that has won lots of constituency seats are not “wasted”, they just aren’t needed to give their voters fair representation.

When allocating the first list seat, this starts with the number of constituencies won by each party:

  • The SNP won 6 constituencies, so their vote is divided by 7.
  • The Conservatives won 3 constituencies, so their vote is divided by 4.
  • No one else won any constituencies, so their votes aren’t divided.

That then gives us this (removing the parties that clearly don’t have enough votes for clarity):

Since Labour have the highest total here, they receive the first regional list seat. We add that to their total, giving them 1 seat overall so far, and therefore for the next round of allocation their share is divided by 2.

The Conservatives have the highest total, so they receive the second regional list seat. That gives them 4 seats overall so far, and therefore for the next round of allocation their share is divided by 5.

Labour have the highest total, so they receive the third regional list seat. That gives them 2 seats overall so far, and therefore for the next round of allocation their share is divided by 3.

The Conservatives have the highest total, so they receive the fourth regional list seat. We add that to their total, giving them 5 seats overall so far, and therefore for the next round of allocation their share is divided by 6.

The Conservatives have the highest total, so they receive the fifth regional list seat. That gives them 6 seats overall so far, and therefore for the next round of allocation their share is divided by 7.

The SNP have the highest total, so they receive the sixth regional list seat. We add that to their total, giving them 7 seats overall so far, and therefore for the next round of allocation their share is divided by 8.

Labour have the highest total, so they receive the seventh and final regional list seat. We add that to their total, giving them 3 seats overall. Therefore, the final distribution of seats across the South Scotland region is:

7 SNP (6 Constituency, 1 Regional)
6 Conservative (3 Constituency, 3 Regional)
3 Labour (all Regional)

Regional List Candidates 2021

  1. Emma Harper
  2. Joan McAlpine
  3. Paul Wheelhouse
  4. Màiri McAllan
  5. Richard Walker
  6. Heather Anderson
  7. Siobhan Brown
  8. Stacy Bradley
  9. Paul McLennan
  10. Ali Salamati
  11. Stephen Thompson
  12. Laura Brennan-Whitefield
  1. Oliver Mundell
  2. Rachael Hamilton
  3. Craig Hoy
  4. Brian Whittle
  5. Sharon Dowey
  6. Shona Haslam
  7. Finlay Carson
  8. Scott Hamilton
  9. Alex Allison
  10. Eric Holford
  11. Alexandra Herdman
  12. John Denerley
  1. Colin Smyth
  2. Carol Mochan
  3. Martin Whitfield
  4. Claudia Beamish
  5. Kevin McGregor
  6. Katherine Sangster
  7. Ian Davidson
  1. Laura Moodie
  2. Barbra Harvie
  3. Dominic Ashmole
  4. Kath Malone
  5. Charles Strang
  6. Ciara Campbell
  7. Peter Barlow
  8. James K Puchowski
  9. Tristan Gray
  1. Catriona Bhatia
  2. Jenny Marr
  3. Richard Brodie
  4. AC May
  5. Euan Davidson
  6. Amanda Kubie
  7. Kirsten Herbst-Gray
  1. Cynthia Guthrie
  2. Corri Wilson
  3. Suzanne Blackley
  4. Laurie Flynn
  1. George Galloway
  2. Jamie Blackett
  3. Bruce Halliday
  4. Jim Grindlay
  5. Kirsteen Michell
  6. Elspeth Grindlay
  7. Malcolm MacDonald
  1. Michelle Ballantyne
  2. David Kirkwood
  3. James Corbett
  4. William Luke
  1. Richard Elvin
  2. Julia Searle
  3. Patricia Mountain
  4. Patricia Bryant
  5. Nick Hollis
  6. David Blaymires
  1. John Ferguson
  2. Simon Bellord
  1. Mandy Blackman
  2. Amanda McConechy
  3. Gillian Jamieson
  4. Joy Rivett-Gill
  1. Maxwell Dunbar
  1. Chic Brodie
  1. Charles McEwan
  2. Dorothy Yost
  3. Sophie Hendry
  4. Theresa Gavin
  5. Elizabeth Fabisiak
  1. Michael Banks